Shi (Review)

SHI

THE SETUP

Shi is a 9 minute Horror/Thriller short, Written and Directed by Pablo Absento. It follows a man (played by Justin Berti) whose clearly just out enjoying nature, that is until he receives a phone call with some bad news. Is it possible for his day to get any worse? The film also stars Atsuya Kodama and Tensei Sugahara. This is Absento’s second short in the genre and it was filmed in Japan. I recently read a review from my fellow critics at http://www.pophorror.com/ for this spooky little mystery and thought I’d check it out.

THE GOOD

Right off the bat you’re going to notice this stunningly beautiful location and its interesting terrain. What makes it so alluring is the stillness in the area, seemingly free of any background noise from nature or any other distractions. Combine that with gorgeous color grading and a light mist in the air (probably digitally enhanced), but incredibility effective all the same, and you’ve got a superb production value for this brief entry. The audio levels are crisp and clear and the score consists of that energetic, Congo style drumming that you’ve heard in other Asian films like “The Grudge” and “Oldboy”. My favourite aspect of the film has to be Dmitriy Bobrov’s cinematography. It opens with a lovely approaching jib/crane shot as the camera stops in the gorge. Later, there’s some great close-ups and a clever aerial shot of the man as he looks out from a top the bridge. The eerieness in the unknown is what makes Shi work on all levels. It’s worth mentioning the makeup effects by Keisuke Aiso because they’re impressive too.

THE BAD

The only issue I had on a technical front was the handheld shots during the running sequence. They were executed okay, I’m just not personally a fan of that stuff unless it’s going hand in hand with a POV (point of view) method film. Other than the phone conversation in the beginning, there’s no dialogue, which is fine, but the excessive profanity was a little unnecessary. With hindsight, there’s also a moment toward the end where the man should have chosen to use his keys long before he actually did.

I was completely blown away by Pablo Absento’s, Shi. It’s a creepy little tale with extremely high production value. I love the location and cinematic approach to the shot choices and overall presentation. The audio and score are both sharp and the makeup effects are very professionally done. A couple of creative decisions weren’t fully to my liking but nothing to weigh this one down much. Do yourself a favor and check out Shi at the link below and be sure to pass it on to the people you know in order to help this one go viral, it’s almost note perfect and we need more of these!

My rating for “Shi” is 9/10

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